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My favorite Japanese movie is a cult classic. You’d assume from that opening I’m embarking on a “Binging With Babish” cinema homage, but quite the opposite. Juzo Itami’s “Tampopo” (1985) opened my eyes to why it is so hard to nail the nuance of a good bowl of ramen in the confines of the home kitchen (or a 500-word recipe). Of course I’ve tried, as I suspect many have.

The inherent paradox is that the simpler a dish seems, the harder it is to get right. Even with an interest in slow food, I am happily resigned to leaving ramen to the craftspeople, who execute the dish for less profit than their dedication deserves.

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